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Governor Dayton announces plan to protect health & safety of seniors

Patti CullenBy Patti Cullen, CAE, President/CEO, Care Providers of Minnesota
March 16, 2018  |  All members

On Tuesday, March 13, 2018, Governor Mark Dayton announced new proposals to protect the health, safety, and dignity of Minnesota seniors and vulnerable adults. Based on the recommendations of a consumer advocates workgroup convened by AARP Minnesota and a recent report from the Office of the Legislative Auditor (OLA), Governor Mark Dayton was joined by legislators and advocates to announce a broad set of reforms and investments to hold providers guilty of abuse accountable and protect the health, safety, and dignity of seniors and vulnerable adults. The Governor’s proposal, co-authored by Republicans and Democrats in the House (HF3468) and Senate (SF3088), would invest $14.9 million for various protection provisions. 

It is important to note that although there was “bipartisan” support for the proposals, Republican legislators chairing the health and human services committees were not in attendance, nor have they signed onto the bills. Separate bills are being introduced by the chairs of the Aging Committees in the House and the Senate that reflect their prioritization of how to best prevent maltreatment of seniors; and how to develop a sustainable solution to the Office of Health Facility Complaints investigatory process. We encourage you to tell your legislators to support our bills (HF3308 and HF3296, Rep. Deb Kiel (R-Crookston) rather than the Governor’s proposal, which, as introduced, had no input from many stakeholder groups, including providers.

Below are a few excerpts from Governor Dayton’s press event, which featured consumer advocates, Minnesota Department of Health Commissioner Jan Malcolm, and the chief bill authors Senator Tony Lourey (DFL-Kerrick) and Representative Liz Olson (DFL-Duluth), as well as the links to his two press documents:  “A Bipartisan Plan to Protect the Health and Safety of Seniors and Vulnerable Adults in Minnesota” and “Actions Already Underway to Improve Oversight and Investigation of Older and Vulnerable Adult Abuse.”

Our senior citizens deserve safe, dignified, high-quality care at every facility in Minnesota,” said Governor Dayton. “Over the last several months, I have listened closely to the perspectives of seniors and their families, along with advocates and providers, whose stories must be at the center of our work. While the responsibility for these abuses rests first and foremost with the private facilities who have violated the trust of families and their loved ones, my Administration is taking concrete steps to investigate every allegation of abuse in a timely and thorough manner. I will work with the Legislature this session to better ensure our parents and grandparents, their families, and all vulnerable adults are safe and well-cared for in Minnesota.

Last December, Governor Dayton directed the Department of Health (MDH) and the Department of Human Services (DHS) to begin working together to improve the Office of Health Facility Complaints’ (OHFC) operations and reduce the backlog of pending reports and allegations. Under the leadership of new Health Commissioner Jan Malcolm, and in partnership with DHS, OHFC has now eliminated the backlog of 2,321 previously unreviewed complaints and has completed 448 investigations into privately-owned residential care facilities since the beginning of the year. Learn more about actions already underway to protect the health, safety, and dignity of Minnesotans here

While significant progress has been made to eliminate the backlog of complaints and investigate allegations of abuse, more must be done to protect Minnesota seniors and vulnerable adults to ensure abuse is not occurring in the first place,” said Minnesota Health Commissioner Jan Malcolm. “We are committed to working with legislators, seniors, and their families to ensure action is taken to protect their health, dignity, and rights. Governor Dayton’s proposal would make significant investments towards this goal. Our Department will not rest until action is taken on every case, and every Minnesota family gets the highest level of service and care. We can and must do better.

While significant progress has been made to better protect older Minnesotans, more actions must be taken to enhance the health, safety, and quality-of-life of older and vulnerable adults in private assisted living settings. The recent report from the Office of the Legislative Auditor (OLA) on protections for older and vulnerable adults in Minnesota called for specific actions to be taken to improve licensing requirements for residential care facilities, enhance the inspections and investigation processes, and facilitate better reporting and communication with victims and their families. Learn more about how the bipartisan proposal announced today would enhance the health and safety of older and vulnerable adults here

Soon after the release of the proposal outlines and the bills, Association staff began meeting with staff from the Governor’s office and key legislators to identify areas where there are common goals and proposals with the prevention, accountability, and transparency proposals we have been advancing this Session; and also to note where there were new ideas that would be difficult to implement as drafted. For example, the legislative proposals announced today would:
  • establish a new healthcare bill of rights applicable to all settings including hospitals, nursing homes, boarding care homes, and housing with services;
  • add new broad-reaching definitions of retaliation for anyone submitting/filing a report or advocating on behalf of a resident or patient where violations can result in $10,000 fines;
  • expand definitions of deceptive marketing practices to include failure to deliver services and/or clearly explain fees;
  • establish a new appeal right to any service termination—even if the services are being terminated for non-payment or the provider is unable to meet that higher level of care;
  • require all registered housing with services establishments to designate at least 10 percent of rooms/beds for residents receiving medical assistance elderly waiver services; and
  • require that individuals who have been a private pay resident for at least one year, resides in a private room, and whose payments subsequently will be made under the medical assistance elderly waiver program may not be relocated to a shared room without the consent of the resident or the resident’s representative.

View the full 65-page bill here

Kaila May – 952-851-2495 –


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Care Providers of Minnesota is a non-profit membership association with the mission to Empower Members to Performance Excellence. Our 900+ members across Minnesota represent non-profit and for-profit organizations providing services along the full spectrum of post-acute care and long-term services and support. We are the state affiliate for the American Health Care Association/National Center for Assisted Living, and with our national partners we provide solutions for quality care.

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